DA extends import validity permits to 90 days amid COVID pandemic
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) has temporarily extended the validity of import clearances in response to container van shortages and port congestion brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an administrative order released earlier this week, Agriculture Secretary William Dar ordered to stretch the validity of sanitary and phytosanitary permits issued to agricultural importers to 90 days from 60 days, factoring in logistical problems that are not unique to the Philippines but are being felt across the globe.
“[T]he current global COVID situation and supply contraction of container vans have presented shipping and other logistical difficulties … the abovementioned difficulties have prompted stakeholders to request for an extension of the validity of the SPSIC for imported food commodities, especially for imported meat,” the order read.
Aside from meat, other products such as animals, animal feeds and feed ingredients, animal products and by-products including meat products, eggs, milk, dairy, veterinary drugs, and biological products will also be covered by the order.
Shipment woes have haunted global trade since countries imposed restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.
This has resulted in higher freight costs, more expensive food, and gridlocks across local and international ports.
Meat Importers and Traders Association president Jesus Cham earlier said that the arrival of meat imports in the country has been delayed to two to three months from the usual delivery of one month.
This, among others, is being blamed on the slow decline of meat prices in the market despite President Duterte’s order to ease the importation of meat.
The emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant is expected to put another dent in the shipping industry as those operating on the ground will be forced anew to work on skeleton force.
This could mean longer delays, worse container imbalance, and higher costs.
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